The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified in a statement that India will ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country from July 1.
In the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic product pollution, recognising the urgent need for the global community to focus on this issue.
The statement reads, "The Government of India has taken resolute steps for mitigation of pollution caused by littered Single Use Plastics (SUP). The list of banned items includes -ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, and plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers."
In September 2021, the Ministry already banned polythene bags thinner than 75 microns; the previous maximum was 50 microns. From December 2022, polythene bags smaller than 120 microns will also be banned
For effective enforcement of the ban, national and state-level control rooms will be set up and special enforcement teams will be formed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs). States and Union Territories have been asked to set up border check points to stop inter-state movement of any banned single-use plastic items.
Directives restricting the supply of raw materials to businesses that deal in the banned items have been issued at the national, state, and local levels. Local officials have been told to provide new business licences with the condition that SUP products will not be sold there, and active business licences will be revoked if it is discovered that they are selling these items.
According to ministry officials, the ban would be implemented gradually to give manufacturers time to switch to thicker, easier-to-recycle polythene bags.
People found to be flouting the ban can be fined under the Environment Protection Act 1986, which permits jail of up to five years, or a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
"CPCB Grievance Redressal App has been launched to empower citizens to help curb plastic menace. For wider public outreach, PRAKRITI - mascot was also launched on 5th April." the ministry statement said.